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House Passes H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016

 

The legislation allows states to pursue cost-effective and practical implementation of EPA’s ozone standards.   Under the Clean Air Act’s NAAQS program, the EPA sets standards for criteria pollutants, including ground-level ozone. EPA initially established ozone standards in 1971, and subsequently revised them in 1979, 1997, and 2008. Unfortunately, EPA did not publish implementing regulations for the 2008 standards until March 2015, and states are just beginning to implement those standards. Because EPA then revised these standards in October 2015, states now face the prospect of simultaneously implementing two ozone standards.

Further, states are increasingly confronting other challenges under the statutory construct of the NAAQS implementation program. These challenges range from the agency’s failure to issue timely implementation regulations and guidance when standards are revised, to specific issues relating to foreign emissions or exceptional events, provisions in the statute that have been interpreted to require states to pursue measures that may not be technologically or economically feasible, and the current statutory requirement that EPA review all NAAQS no later than every 5 years.

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